Ways to Save Energy on Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you’re probably already planning Thanksgiving dinner, deciding what side dishes should complement the beautiful, glistening turkey and whether you should make pumpkin pie, pecan pie or both. Holidays are about getting together with friends and family but let’s be honest, it’s all about the food! Turkey, dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and the list goes on! With such an iconic meal to prepare, it’s no surprise the kitchen becomes ground zero on Thanksgiving, and the last thing on our minds is probably saving energy. However, a few minor adjustments really can save energy—which saves YOU money!

Here are few tips to keep in mind while you’re hustling around the kitchen:

Don’t interrupt the oven

As tempting as it might be, once you start the turkey (or any other dish) in the oven, let it be. Don’t interrupt the process. Even opening the door for a glimpse can set the temperature back twenty degrees, causing your oven to go on overdrive (which costs you $). Instead, keep the door closed and as hard as it might be, trust the timer! A few extra tips: if your dish needs more than an hour in the oven, no need to preheat. Also, you can turn off the oven a few minutes before the timer goes off—it’ll keep cooking until you open the door.

Material matters

If your Thanksgiving meal is like most, your oven will be on overdrive preparing the turkey and the side dishes. In order to utilize the energy and get things done in a timely manner, make sure you’re cooking in glass and ceramic baking dishes. They retain heat better than metal, allowing you to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F.

Utilize the stove

While most dishes tend to be cooked in the oven, try and use the stove as much as possible. Range-top cooking uses less energy.  And to prevent heat loss, keep pots and pans covered and use the lowest possible setting.

Try the slow cooker

While some might be used to cooking in a slow cooker, most don’t realize all the advantages of it. It’s incredibly easy (put in the food, close the lid, press start), frees up the oven and stove for other dishes, and best of all, saves energy! Its low wattage means that ten hours of usage only costs around 21 cents! While it’s possible to use it to cook the turkey, the most common Thanksgiving item prepared in slow cooker is probably the dressing.

Turn down the heat

With all the action going on inside the kitchen, the good news is that the rest of the house will reap some benefits. If you have the heat on because it’s cold outside, turn it down a few degrees. The heat inside the kitchen will seep into the other rooms and with the extra bodies, the rest of the house will likely warm up too.

Let the leftovers cool

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers. Thanksgiving dinner can last for days and if you’re like most, you probably kept that in mind when deciding exactly how much of each dish you should make. After you eat your fill, store your leftovers in glass, air-tight containers. Before you put them in the fridge though, let them cool completely. Putting them in the refrigerator still hot will affect the resting temperature of the refrigerator, causing the fridge to work harder to reach the ideal cool temperature.

Smart cleaning

Dinner is done, bellies are full, and everyone is resting in the living room. In the kitchen, dishes are everywhere…without a doubt, the worst part of preparing a big meal! When it comes time to assess the damage, do your best NOT to turn on the sink. Instead drag the trash can next to the dishwasher and scrape away all you can. Then, load in as many as you can. If your dishes haven’t sat around for a long time, you can probably get by using the light cycle with warm water. Using dishwashers tend to save time and money because with handwashing, we usually keep the hot water running way too long.


Do you have other ideas on how to save energy on such a busy holiday? Or a favorite slow-cooker recipe? Share your ideas with us!

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